5 Tips for Stepping Into Leadership in Seasons of Uncertainty
By: Brian Jensen
In early 2020, we here at Vanderbloemen had the honor of working alongside Christian Heritage School as they searched for their new Head of School. Eventually, we were able to place Dr. Michael Dube as the new Head of School, and despite onboarding into this new role entirely during the pandemic, the transition was successful. Check out our reflection on this hire to read more about its process and how we were able to fulfill Christian Heritage School’s needs.
To wrap up our education blog series, I recently sat down with Mike Dube to catch up and hear what lessons and wisdom he has learned over the past year.
If you have transitioned to leadership in an uncertain season, or if you are about to, Mike’s advice is sure to resonate with you. And as you continue on into this new semester, Mike advises that you keep these things in mind:
Focus on your mission--keep your mission centered in the midst of any perceived chaos.
Remember, lots of places are schools, but fewer are Christian schools. Let your distinctive Christ-centered education shine through.
Rest in the promises of the scriptures and know that God is in control.
Be a person that instills hope in your community, and
Be the people of God
It can be easy to forget that your school is part of the global Church. Your staff are the people of God, equipping the next generation of Christ-followers.
Staying mission-centered in the midst of chaos
Of the five pieces of advice he gives for new leaders, keeping your focus on the mission and your place within that mission is, according to Mike, the most critical aspect. It is critical that you rely on the strength of the Lord (Habakkuk 3:19), trusting that He is in charge of your ministry and He loves you, rather than relying on your strengths, your reputation, or whatever else you bring to the table. Remember that you have far less to offer than He does. This is also important to keep in mind during conversations with parents and families. We can sometimes follow our inclination to position ourselves or the school as the hero in any narrative. Instead, continually remind yourself and the school community that you are entirely reliant on Christ, and that you are leading them as He leads you.
And on that note, ensure that you are letting Christ lead you. It does no good to attribute your decisions and leadership to God if you are not truly lending your ear to the Father’s voice and His guidance.
Keep in mind that no two ministry experiences are alike. No matter how many years you have under your belt, how many fields you may have served in, or the extensive ministry experience you may have, you will need to readjust your expectations and maybe some of your behaviors within any new environment. Rather than relying solely on your own experiences and expectations, seek to operate within God’s wisdom- even when it is hard, unnatural, or doesn’t seem to make sense.
Though many people are desperate to get “back to normal,” anyone who serves in leadership knows that there is not really any such thing. There will always be something attempting to get in the way of God’s people doing His work. In seasons of uncertainty, it is easy to go into survival mode as a leader. This can cause us to do the minimum necessary just to stay afloat through the crisis- whether it’s financial challenges, division, major leadership transitions, or a pandemic. We cannot allow ourselves to turn the bare minimum into our habit of work; there will always be something trying to get in the way of you leading and equipping your community to the best of your ability.
As the fall semester gets started, refocus on your mission and vision. Remind yourself, and those in your school community, that you are actively the hands and feet of Christ. Use your missional lens to rejuvenate your spirits and drive momentum and growth. And if you do so, remember that you have overcome challenges--and whatever uncertainty lies ahead, can all fall at the feet of Jesus.